2019 Local Authority Pollinator Award
Buncrana and Geashill win national Tidy Towns Local Authority Pollinator Awards 2019
The Tidy Towns committees in Buncrana and Geashill have made a determined long-term commitment to help pollinators, managing their town’s public spaces in a pollinator-friendly way, protecting existing native hedgerows as well as planting new native hedgerows, a pollinator-friendly orchard; reducing mowing to allow wildflowers to grow; and by planting pollen-rich flowers. They have also done so much to help create awareness of our biodiversity and of the importance of pollinators by working with the local national schools, Beavers, ICA, and through a local garden competition.
One third of our 99 bee species are threatened with extinction from Ireland. This is because we have drastically reduced the amount of food (wildflowers) and safe nesting sites in our landscapes. The All Ireland Pollinator Plan was launched in 2015 as a shared plan of action to try to reverse these declines and work with communities, businesses, parks, schools and farms to make an Ireland where pollinators can survive and thrive.
The Local Authority Pollinator Award aims to encourage Tidy Towns groups to implement pollinator-friendly actions in their towns and villages as part of the Tidy Towns competition. It supports the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan and is coordinated and sponsored by the Heritage Offices and Biodiversity Offices of Local Authorities across Ireland, in partnership with the National Biodiversity Data Centre. Since the award’s inception in 2016, there have been over 160 entries from towns and villages across the country, and according to feedback from Tidy Towns judges, over 80% of the 918 general Tidy Towns entrants are also following pollinator-friendly guidelines produced as part of the plan, even if they aren’t entering the Pollinator Award. Every year, the standard of entries is growing and the team behind the Pollinator Plan are amazed at what is being achieved.
CAPTION: Over 160 pollinator-friendly towns and villages, from every county in Ireland, have entered the Local Authority Pollinator Award.
Bees are our most important pollinators because they rely completely on pollen to feed their young. This means they are focused solely on collecting pollen and thereby move pollen from one flower to another. As our landscapes have become more intensively managed and our roadside verges and parks, gardens more manicured, we have reduced the amount of pollen-rich wildflowers our pollinators have access to. The Pollinator Award rewards communities who are allowing space for nature, allowing wildflowers to grow, reducing pesticide use and providing safe areas for pollinators to nest.
Juanita Browne, Project Officer with the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan: “It’s amazing to see what all the Tidy Towns groups are doing for biodiversity. We hope this will continue long into the future. Ireland recently declared a Climate Crisis and Biodiversity Emergency, and it is the local community groups who are actually leading the way and showing us what can be done to help biodiversity and help tackle climate action at the same time. With so much of our landscapes being intensively managed and one third of our bee species at risk of extinction, these towns and villages, where they are protecting their flowering hedgerows, planting wildlife-friendly trees, eliminating pesticide use, and reducing grass-cutting, act as much-needed safe refuges for biodiversity across the country.”
According to Colette Byrne, Chief Executive Kilkenny County Council “Tidy Towns groups are the unsung heroes of the country. As Local Authorities, we recognise this. We also recognise that the Tidy Towns competition has wholeheartedly embraced work to support pollinators, including our special Local Authority Pollinator Award. I’m personally delighted as Chief Executive of Kilkenny County Council, the first local authority to sign a framework agreement to support the All Ireland Pollinator Plan, that this award has been so successful”.
To find out how you can take actions to help pollinators or to enter the 2019 Pollinator Award, please see www.pollinators.ie
WINNING ENTRIES 2019 Local Authorities Pollinator Award:
National Pollinator Award for Small Town (€1000): Geashill, Co. Offaly
National Pollinator Award for Large Town (€1000): Buncrana, Co. Donegal
Large Town Category Regional Winners Local Authority Pollinator Award (€1000):
Midlands & East: Dunboyne, Co. Meath
South & Mid-west: Ennis, Co. Clare
South East: Kilkenny
North-west & West: Buncrana, Co. Donegal
Small Town Category Regional Winners Local Authority Pollinator Award (€1000):
Midlands & East: Geashill, Co. Offaly
South & Mid-west: Sneem, Co. Kerry
South East: Tullahought, Co. Kilkenny
North-West & West: Belmullet, Co. Mayo
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